Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

Stuttgart Ballet Cancels NY Performances

Recommended Posts

The Stuttgart Ballet has cancelled its performances in New York which were to take place at City Center, April 23-26. Given the economic situation, the war and the desire to end the tour on high note, it was decided to end the tour prior to New York.


Link to comment

The attendance in Costa Mesa (California) was not that good. On the Thurs. night mixed bill performance the theater's 3rd Tier was about as empty as I've ever seen it for a ballet. On Sat. night we were in the First Tier so I cannot comment on the attendance that night. Attendance at the Orange County Performing Arts Center's Dance Series has been consistantly low of late.


Link to comment

Just wondering, again, if you think what they performed - in the sense of a mixed bill - had something to do with the low turn out? If I recall correctly, their programs at City Center were all to be mixed bills.

Link to comment

The decision to forego NYC was purely fiscal in nature. The combination of low advanced ticket sales and the higher costs of production in NYC precluded the Company from following through with the scheduled NYC performances.

Link to comment

An engagement at City Center has thrown more than one company into debt. It had a reputation as a money pit, but I don't know the specific numbers - what you'd need to charge or how many seats you'd need to sell to break even. I wasn't hearing a lot of buzz about Stuttgart coming here, and that's a bad sign.

Link to comment

From the Stuttgarter Zeitung:


Okay... my translation skills are not perfect - perhaps one of the native German speaker members has better english than I have german...

As far as I can understand from the article:

Only about 25% of the tickets were sold in advance of the performances in New York. Reid Anderson believes this has more to do with the current situation in the US (war, SARS scare) than with the nature of the programming. He is very sorry to not take his dancers but cannot afford to lose so much money. It is mentioned that Opera and Orchestra ticket sales are also down at the moment.

The reception for Romeo and Juliet was reported as being very good with lots of standing ovations but the reaction to the mixed program was reported as being mixed. Reid Anderson is reported as not being too surprised by this as he states that the art of choreography in Europe is somewhat different (I am paraphrasing somewhat here - please do not read too much into this:)). He is happy with his dancers' performances and pleased with the public and critical response.

Link to comment
Originally posted by garnet

perhaps one of the native German speaker members has better english than I have german...


I tried to translate the whole article, but please excuse my confusing syntax. I hope you get the gist. ;)

Stuttgart Ballet stops U.S.-Tour

Reid Anderson cancels all the performances in New York - The war and the scare of SARS interferes with the ticket sales

The news came out of the blue: Just on Tuesday afternoon, Reid Anderson of the Stuttgart ballet raved about the way the U.S.A.-tour goes. During a meeting with the company prior to their first performance in Minneapolis, he announced in the evening that he had cancelled the four performances in New York that should have taken place after the Easter holidays. The demand for bills concerning these performances was much less than expected. On all the four evenings in the New York City Center, modern ballets were planned to be performed.

But the modern program was not the reason for the poor audience’s interest in the New York performances, said Reid Anderson. “I am very sad that the people in New York won’t be able to see our fantastic dancers”, regrets the ballet director during a short statement on the telephone from Minneapolis, “but I cannot take the responsibility for losing so much money.” Only about 25 percent of the performances’ tickets had been sold in advance at that moment. This would have been to little to cover all the costs. As the ballet company doesn’t get a fixed wage in New York, as it is usual in other cities, but has to finance all the performances with the income of their ticket sales, Anderson decided along with the New York agency and Hans Tränkle, the manager of the Stuttgart state theatre, to forego the performances in New York.

Anderson blames the rapid loss of the audience, that can be recognized especially in the New York Theatre, on the economic effects of the war on the entertainment sector in the United States and the Americans’ insecurity due to the spreading of the lung disease SARS.

“In New York, you can get tickets for every musical at the moment”, says Anderson. Even the Metropolitan Opera has got problem to fill their empty rows with audience. Additionally to the Stuttgart ballet, some other orchesters cancelled their performances in New York as well.

Until now, the company’s tour, which was due to last seven weeks, was very successful. The performances of John Cranks “Romeo and Juliet” attracted a lot of people and some performances were even sold out. Also, the evenings with only modern ballets by the choreographers Christian Spuck, Uwe Scholz, Douglas Lee, Daniela Kurz and Kevin O"Day were very popular. Despite the cancellation, Reid Anderson takes a positive stock in between the tour: “I am very content, the dancers perform with excellence and the audience was fantastic. A lot of performances were praised with standing ovations. For him as director, it was especially important that all the local critics rated the dancers’ work as excellent.

While all the performance of Romeo and Juliet, in which Anderson presented five new casts for the main roles, were praised, the reactions of the audience and the press for the modern ballets were diverse. “I expected the opinions to be diverse”, said Reid Anderson. “the way of choreographing in Europe is somewhat different.” For the company, only performances in St. Louis, Iowa City and Midland are left. There, the tour will end on April, 20th.

The new cast for “Romeo and Juliet” can be viewed by the Stuttgart’s audience in June, when this classic by Cranko will be performed instead of ballet “Der Widerspenstigen Zähmung”.

Link to comment

While sales at most venues are down (due more, I think, to the economy than the war), I and many of my ballet-going friends were not that interested in what they were dancing this visit. I have a friend who went to both programs during their State Theater visit a few years ago during the Lincoln Center Fest. and their last engagement at NJPAQ. But looked at the program and the prices at City Center and decided to pass.

I'm adding to note my disagreement with one of Reids saying that SARS is a major reason for poor ticket sales. While people are concerned, I haven't spoken to anybody here in NY that hasn't gone out because of it. The major outbreaks have ocurred elsewhere. As I said before, ticket sales have been down since 9/11. But Reid points out that tickets can be had for all the musicals....that's because Feb. and April are down times for tourism. Ticket sales for those event usually go back up in May, June, July. I think he's using the war, SARS etc... as an excuse for the lack of interest that has been shown for his company in NY.

Link to comment

I agree with Dale. It's the rep. There's the consideration, too, which may have escaped the current company administration that when you have a brand name, it's best to use it. i.e., Americans associate Stuttgart with Cranko. They'll go to see a Cranko ballet, and may be interested enough in the dancers or the company to try out the new rep, but there's nothing in the new rep on its own that's a draw, unless you're a devote of New Now choreography, and New York ain't that kind of town. :)

Link to comment

I can't help but laugh - out of recognition! I must confess that when I looked at what they were performing at City Center I was not too excited...then I looked at their website and read what I could about those particular pieces.

If I lived right in the city and if money was not even a second thought ;), then I probably would have gotten tickets and gone to see them. I really like to expose my ballet dancing daughter to different ballet companies whenever possible - but since the first two "if's" weren't available, I took the coward's way out and did not order tickets.

I kept hoping to read something about their mixed rep. but really didn't...at least nothing to turn my thoughts around.

I feel kind of embarrassed to admit to my pedestrian ways..:) :eek:

Link to comment

It's not all that pedestrian, BW. Tickets cost money and if that resource is limited, you pick and choose. Most people, (me included) look for at least one familiar element and that could be choreography, dancers or having heard about the company via word-of-mouth. As Alexandra said, Stuttgart's calling card is John Cranko, and they didn't use it to get people in the door in NYC. Since the company decided to go with four new works by relatively unfamiliar choreographers (Kevin O'Day is known here, but not a household word) then they might have wanted to consider engaging a guest artist in NYC or doing something else as a hook. That or play a smaller house where the costs are lower. It's just realistic business.

Link to comment

Also, anecdotally, New York is very empty at the moment and has been since the War began. The tourists simply aren't here, the lack of traffic on the streets in Midtown is unprecedented (and something of a silver lining) and my subjective view has also been confirmed by the barometer for such things of cab drivers and restaurant people whom you talk to about such things. Business is terrible here at the moment and Stuttgart Ballet would have had a hard time selling that run under any circumstances. That the die hard ballet audience wasn't itself interested was the coup de grace.

I wonder about the wisdom of cancelling nonetheless. To be seen here is important to register with a critical dance audience and surely a success of estime here might have been worth losing a little dough. Things must be quite difficult financially for the company in general for it to be that sensitive to running a loss for four nights. Surely they had to know, without the war or anything else, that the run here would not be a money maker from a financial point of view.

Link to comment

We've also had terrible weather in New York. That might have slowed tourism. Has anybody been to Eifman Ballet and noticed the attendance? I haven't or won't be able to go because of work and the holidays, but the Russian community in NY usually supports the company.

I agree that a better mix between established rep and new ballets probably would have been more inticing. When SB performed at NYST it brought Cranko ballets and had a big draw in Vladimir Malakhov as a guest star.

At least 10 years ago, companies used to come with their calling card, as Alexandra put it. However, several of the last visiters to City Center have wanted to show how avant garde, cutting edge or at the forefront of new choreography they are. Australian Ballet brought new ballets, but they also did "In the Middle...," which is a known quantity. SFB this past October did mostly newer work, except its third program which had Rubies and Paquita on it, but Morris and Wheeldon can be considered draws and the company was very popular from its last visit. National Ballet of Canada visited a few years ago and danced Kudelka. I didn't go so I don't know how they drew, but I would have gone if they had performed the attractive mix they perform at home.

Link to comment

Well, thanks Leigh - I feel better now. Actually I guess I'm not alone in my reasons.

Michael, I don't think it's as bad in NYC as you're describing but, perhaps, our paths cut a different swath? I can attest to a packed house at the never ending Phantom of the Opera and continue to be ensnarled in traffic jams all over Manhattan...from now on, rather than getting highly annoyed, I'm going to be happy about this because it attests to our city's still being alive! ;)

Dale really seems to sum it up by saying:

I would have gone if they had performed the attractive mix they perform at home.
And Alexandra wraps it up completely with her last post.

Still sorry not to see them.

Link to comment
...I wonder who empty the house would have been if the company had performed the mix (Kudeka, Ashton, Balanchine, classics, Cranko etc...) it performs at home...

Interesting to ponder. (With your typo, your question could start to read as "I wonder who empt{ied} the house?" ;)

I still think they would not have drawn much of a crowd. They simply are not a strong company right now -- have not been for years -- and almost never tour, so folks just don't know the dancers.

A mixed program can be very stimulating, especially to introduce a seldom-seen company doing some familiar works. It gives the audience some meat to chew on.

Unfortunately, no matter what the NBoC dances these days, so many in the audience go home uninspired, unuplifted (can that be a word?), and feeling like they haven't had anything to munch on that night.

The National may just need another Nureyev to rescue them!

Link to comment
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...